Big Hero 6 #1

You would not know it by reading The Revolution, but I am a total Otaku. I am obsessed with Japan and pretty much dig anything that comes from that country. So, it is only natural that Big Hero Six #1 would catch my eye. I never read the original title that came out in 1998 entitled Sunfire and Big Hero 6. The main reason for that was because Scott Lobdell was the writer and I tried my best to avoid any title that he wrote back in the 1990’s.

I like Claremont even though his best days are clearly behind him. Still, I have faith that Claremont has enough left in the tank to deliver a quality story on this title. Hopefully, Big Hero Six #1 will live up to its potential of being a fun story. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencils: David Nakayama
Inks: Terry Pallot

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with an introduction to Japan’s super hero team, Big Hero 6. The team consists of Hiro Takachiho, Baymax, Honey Lemon, Go Go Tomago and Wasabi No-Ginger. We learn that since Japan is the only country to suffer the horrors of the nuclear bomb that they have forsworn the use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, unlike other super powers, Japan relies on super powered humans in Big Hero 6 to defend their country.

We cut to Tokyo with Hiro being woken up by his incredibly smart, amazingly crafty and extremely annoying alarm clock. The clock verbally berates Hiro for still being in bed. The clock sprouts arms and legs and rips the blanket off of Hiro and dumps him out of the bed.

Hiro gets up and hops onto his incredible super computer to check out what is going on in the world before he gets ready to go to school. Hiro spies a news report from New York about some mysterious astronomical phenomenon that happened off the coast of New York. It warranted the maximum response of the American Air Defense Command.

We cut to a young blonde woman at her super computer with multiple monitor screens. She has hacked into Hiro’s computer and wonders what has caught Hiro’s attention this morning. The woman comments that this is why she loves keeping an eye on Hiro. Because there is never a dull moment.

We shift to Hiro dressed for school and sitting at the table for breakfast with his mom. During breakfast Hiro cannot stop thinking about what might have caused the astronomical phenomenon off the coast of New York. Hiro wonders if it might have been a meteor.

Hiro leaves the house and walks to school. On his way to school, Baymax, in his human form, meets up with Hiro. Hiro explains to the reader that Baymax is Hiro’s first and greatest invention: his very own robot.

Hiro does wonder if he built Baymax too well since Baymax has been developing a mind of his own lately. Baymax has input to all of Hiro’s textbooks so Baymax preps Hiro for his tests today during the walk to school.

We then see Go Go Tomago and Honey Lemon waiting for Hiro outside of his school. Hiro thinks how his two female teammates with Big Hero 6 are here to make his life miserable.

Honey Lemon reminds Hiro that he has to be careful and not let out the secret that he is really a part of Big Hero 6. Hiro tells his teammates to relax and that he will see them after school. Hiro enters the front of the school where his friends are all clamoring about the two hotties that were talking to Hiro. His friends beg Hiro for the phone numbers to the two gorgeous girls.

Suddenly, the principal of the school arrives on the scene and reminds the Hiro and his friends that being at the Tesuka Advanced Science Institute is a privilege. The principal tells the students that they are late and to go directly to class.

The principal tells Hiro that he wants to talk to him alone. The principal says that this is not the first time that he has seen Hiro with those two girls. The principal says that if Hiro is having a problem then perhaps the principal can help. Hiro thanks the principal for the offer and then runs off to class.

During class, Hiro uses one of his glasses lenses as a cybernetic video display that is linked to the World Wide Web. Hiro learns that SHIELD, Avengers and the Fantastic Four are all investigating the strange astronomical occurrence off the coast of New York. Suddenly, the teacher yells at Hiro to pay attention. Hiro easily answers the teacher’s question and then continues to think about what is going on off the coast of New York.

We cut to the blonde girl who has hacked into Hiro’s super computer. The girl thinks how Hiro is very persistent. That there is not a single firewall on the planet that can keep Hiro out. Suddenly, the blonde girl’s computer goes dead. She is stunned that Hiro detected her presence on his computer and kicked her out. The girl says that it is time that Hiro met Furi and that Hiro needs to start learning proper espionage tradecraft.

We shift to Baymax noting Furi’s presence in Hiro’s supercomputer and severing her link to Hiro’s computer. Baymax then notifies Hiro that someone had hacked into Hiro’s core cybernetwork.

We slide over to the skyscraper in Tokyo that serves as Big Hero 6’s headquarters. We see Honey Lemon and Go Go talking to the new member of the team: Ginger No-Wasabi. Ginger states that he is serving his country as a member of Big Hero 6, but by training and by choice he is a chef. Ginger then serves the girls a delicious lunch.

Suddenly, three robot ninjas bust onto the scene and attack our heroes. Ginger No-Wasabi springs to action. Honey and Go Go hang back since they know that this is just a training exercise that all new members of the team go through. Ginger, however, does not know this.

Ginger No-Wasabi displays some impressive Kun-Fu prowess and then shows off his ability to create throwing knives out of energy. Ginger easily defeats the ninja robots. The girls are duly impressed with Ginger’s abilities.

We cut back to the Tesuka Advanced Science Institute where three villains, Gunsmith, Whiplash and Brute, suddenly appear on the scene. Baymax immediately radios Big Hero 6 headquarters and tells them to come to Hiro’s school immediately. Baymax then transforms into his “action mode” and locks horns with the villains.

Honey Lemon and Go Go Tomago arrive on the scene and help Baymax in his fight against the three villains. We see Gunsmith trying to get to Hiro. Gunsmith’s gun freezes several of Hiro’s friends, but misses Hiro. Go Go takes out Gunsmith. Honey Lemon then demonstrates the power of her magical purse which allows her to pull from it any device she needs given the current situation.

Honey pulls a small device out of her purse that magically unfreezes Hiro’s friends. We then see Go Go, Baymax and Wasabi No-Ginger team up to defeat the three villains. In the process we learn that Ginger can use his mind to formulate and project pulses of Qi energy in the shape of any type of sword or knife. The force of the Qi energy can render a person unconscious.

We then see the villains revert back to the forms of normal humans. The villains are quickly taken into custody and zipped off to Big Hero 6’s headquarters. The members of Big Hero 6 then board their transport plane. Honey Lemon plays to the crowd and soaks up the adoration. Hiro stays behind since he has to maintain his cover as a normal student.

We cut to that night with Hiro downloading the entire super villain attack from Baymax’s video log. Hiro then sets up a holographic virtual presentation of the crime scene. On that foundation, Hiro integrates data streams from all multiple video scanners recording the scene and the end result is a truly comprehensive view of the crime scene.

Hiro mentions how the three villains were just puppets and that they did not remember a thing about what happened. Hiro says that the questions are who is pulling their strings and why?

Hiro then spies three clandestine investigators entering a bank across the street from the school. Baymax replies that he cannot find any data on those three men and the bank did not report a robbery or anything unusual today.

Suddenly, Furi appears in Hiro’s holographic crime scene. Furi says that it is obvious that the three mysterious men were looking for something of great value. Furi introduces herself and says that she is the operational head of the Exotic Assets Division of Homeland Security that is responsible to the Emperor of Japan. Furi states that she created Big Hero 6 and that she is here to help.

Hiro says that he knows of Furi’s department, but that he has never heard of Furi. Furi responds that there is a reason why she is called a “secret” agent. Furi then continues that over the past four years there have been thefts like this one on four different continents. Furi says that Tokyo, representing Asia, is the fifth. Furi states that the thefts have involved artifacts of inestimable value.

Furi says that the last one is in New York and that is where the mystery thief must be headed. And that is where Big Hero 6 will stop them. Hiro asks why the American super heroes like the Avengers cannot handle the mystery thief.

Furi answers that they are not telling the Americans that that they are coming. That the Americans have no idea what they are dealing with or what is at stake. Furi reveals that she was the one who first uncovered the original artifacts and by doing so set all of this in motion. Furi says that it cost her her eye. Furi says that she wants that to be the last blood she sheds because of this.

We cut to the next day at Big Hero 6’s headquarters and see all the teammates assembled at a large meeting table. Hiro tells his teammates that Furi told him it was Japan who originally set these events in motion. And that it is their responsibility to bear and that the world is theirs to protect.

The general then states that the Ministry has decided that Furi Wamu will be the tactical commander of this mission and will accompany the team to New York. Furi then enters the room in her shy secretary guise. Furi says that this is a covert operation and that they do not want any outside involvement. Furi then says that the team will leave tonight.

Honey Lemon teases Hiro and asks if he got his mom’s permission to go on the mission. Furi interrupts and solemnly states that Japan understands the consequences of nuclear war like no other people on the planet. Furi says that there is so much more at stake with this mission. That there is no margin for error. That Big Hero 6 must be victorious or else the Earth is doomed. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Big Hero 6 #1 was a good read. Claremont delivers an issue that is simply pure fun. I actually like the fact that Claremont makes this issue basically all-ages. I was not expecting that. But, it works perfectly and matches the youthful energy of the characters. And it also works well with the shonen manga elements that exist in this comic book.

Claremont did his homework and turned in a comic book that is possesses all the proper ingredients that a shonen manga should have. The main character is a thirteen year old school boy. He has a trusty mecha sidekick. Our main character has to deal with two very irritating older girls who act as surrogate older sisters. And he also has to deal with a female boss with a mysterious past. These are popular themes that are present in many shonen manga titles.

Big Hero 6 #1 has all the wild and outrageous powers and characters that I absolutely adore in my manga. I love American comics, but manga is like a breath of fresh air at times. For the most part, American comics tend to be grim, gritty and reality obsessed. American comics feel compelled to explain and quantify every piece of technology or super power with some sort of pseudo science explanation.

That is not the case in many manga titles. And that is not the case here in Big Hero 6 #1. There is no need to explain everything or to make everything believable, plausible or realistic. It is a comic book after all. Laws of reality and science need not always apply.

And that is certainly the case in Big Hero 6 #1 as Claremont treats the reader to characters with outrageous powers and abilities. We also get to check out Hiro’s incredible technology. And Claremont never tries to explain any of the outrageous things that happen in this issue. And there is no reason to. It is unimportant. All that matters is that the reader is having fun and is just enjoying this make believe world.

I love all the characters that make up Big Hero 6’s roster. And that is rare for me to ever like all the characters on a given super hero team. Claremont gives each character an easily identifiable personality. We also get some solid dialogue as Claremont gives each character a nicely developed external voice. Claremont is also able to generate some nice chemistry between the teammates right out of the gate in this first issue.

Each member of Big Hero 6 is unique and cool. I love Honey Lemon. She is your typical hot anime styled female character. I dig that Claremont makes Honey Lemon a mix of Hello Kitty cuteness with that bad girl sexiness. Out of all the members of Big Hero 6, Honey Lemon’s powers are my favorite. Honey’s powers lack any logic and are totally unexplainable. And Claremont offers no explanation to the reader other than Honey’s purse must be magic. Honey’s magic purse is a cool power that has so much potential and possibilities.

Go Go Tomago is a classic action anime styled character. I dig that her personality is much more reserved than Honey Lemon even though in the battlefield Go Go is much flashier than Honey Lemon.

Wasabi No-Ginger is a great character. This character is a more humorous one (as evidenced by his name) than the others. Wasabi No-Ginger is also a gimmick themed manga character. Wasabi reminds me of some of the goofy themed characters from manga like Ultimate Muscle.

Baymax is your requisite mecha character. I dig Baymax because I am a sucker for any transformable mecha character. Baymax is a classic manga character who can transform into three distinct forms with no realistic explanation at all. I love it. We get to see two of Baymax’s forms in Big Hero 6. He has a third mode which is a reptile mode which we see in the extras. Baymax is an extremely versatile and useful member of Big Hero 6.

Of course, the main character, Hiro, is my favorite. I dig Hiro’s youthful excitement and inquisitiveness. I like Furi Wamu. Obviously, Furi is a humorous play on Nick Fury’s name. I am interested in learning more about Furi’s character. Evidently, she must have two personas. We see a reserved secretary look from Furi in this issue. And in the character sketches for the future issues we see Furi with an eye patch and in a military outfit and looking much more authoritative.

Big Hero 6 #1 is a fast paced read. Claremont wastes absolutely no time introducing all of the characters properly and clearly that makes it easy for the readers to get a good feel for each member of Big Hero 6 as well as the world that they operate in. Claremont gets this story underway in a straight forward fashion that makes it new reader friendly.
Big Hero 6 #1 is soundly plotted. Claremont moves the story along with a purpose and a clear direction. Claremont makes sure each plotline is nicely laid out for the reader. The story in this issue is very easy to follow. Claremont understands that in a mini-series, it is imperative to quickly set forth the mission at hand and let the reader know that there will be little time wasted in moving the story along.

Claremont cranks out an enjoyable and straight forward action and adventure story. Big Hero 6 #1 is nothing elaborate or Earth-shattering. Claremont is not trying to break new ground with this title. Big Hero 6 #1 is simply pure candy for the brain. This is exactly the kind of title I like to read after reading too many Grant Morrison penned issues as of late.

David Nakayama does a fantastic job delivering some incredible manga-styled artwork. Nakayama brings each character to life and pours so much emotion and energy into each character. Terry Pallot does a good job with the inks. Nakayama and Pallot combine to create an issue that is vibrant and exciting looking.

The best part about Big Hero 6 #1 is that Marvel crammed it full of extras. For $3.99 the reader gets a huge bang for their buck with this issue. The reader gets the story itself that runs the standard 23 pages. Then the reader is treated to a whopping 15 pages of extras full of character designs from David Nakayama’s sketchbook as well as full bios of the original Big Hero Six members complete with detailed histories, powers, etc.

All of the extras are designed to properly educate the reader who is unfamiliar with Big Hero 6. All in all, the extras are pretty sweet. We also see the sixth member of the team in Nakayama’s character sketches. His name is Fred and his codename is Fredzilla. He is obviously an homage to Godzilla as evidenced by his name and the fact that he can transform into a towering green dinosaur. Evidently, Fred will be joining the team at some point.

Since I am a huge Kaiju fan, I obviously dig Fred and look forward to his joining Big Hero 6. And honestly, with a super team from Japan, you just have to have a Kaiju-like character. But, the best part of the character sketches of Fred is that one of them has Fred sporting a Devil Dinosaur t-shirt. Way to go, Nakayama! I love Devil Dinosaur.

For those that don’t know, Devil Dinosaur is a great obscure character that was created by the immortal Jack Kirby. Devil Dinosaur #1 came out in 1978 and ran nine issues. I hope that Nakayama has Fred actually wearing a Devil Dinosaur shirt when he appears in this title.

The Bad: I am unsure if Big Hero 6 #1 is going to be able to find an audience that will properly appreciate it. I have a feeling that manga snobs will dislike this issue because it is American and not Japanese. And those type of manga fans will probably spend most of their time tearing apart the members of Big Hero 6 as unoriginal and derivative of other Japanese manga titles.

And I am unsure if readers who prefer American comic books will enjoy Big Hero 6 #1. If you are not a fan of shonen manga then you probably will not like this title. Readers who prefer classic American styled comic books that present more adult and “realistic” stories will probably not get into this title at all.

I have a feeling that Big Hero 6 #1 may end up not pleasing either type of fan and find itself stuck in an unwanted middle where it isn’t enough of a true manga title to make manga fans happy and it is not enough of a classic American comic book to make your average comic book reader happy.

Overall: Big Hero 6 #1 was a fun read. I completely enjoyed this issue. Readers that want a story that is deep and complex and that engages the mind then they will not be interested in Big Hero 6 #1. If you want some nice popcorn for the brain then give this title a try.

2 Comments

  1. My question is: If you’re going to do a new comic about a Japanese superhero team charged with defending a nuke-less island (cool!), then why send them immediately to the most over-exposed-and-hence-boringly-generic city in Comicdom?

    For crying out loud, c’mon; show me Tokyo. I haven’t seen Tokyo in every Marvel comic of the last forty years.

  2. "I dig that Claremont makes Honey Lemon a mix of Hello Kitty cuteness with that bad girl sexiness."
    If I had an issue with your review, it'd probably be comments like this which I think maybe put a little too much credit at the writer's door. I actually suspect that the character's new designs were probably decided upon by the artist rather than the writer.

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